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NCT 127:K-Pop Phenomena

by George Ellerby

Seoul-based NCT 127 discuss their sell-out Wembley show, their favourite tour experiences, and their impressions of London.

For the uninitiated, NCT 127 are the ‘second sub-unit’ of a larger boy band called ‘NCT’. It seemed impossible to imagine a larger boy band than the one I met on floor 10 of the Universal Music London offices. Capping off the two hours of interviews NCT 127 took for multiple publications, I was additionally surprised to see how enthused and energetic the nine-piece were.

Having formed in 2016, NCT 127 have had a highly prolific three years; releasing several mini-albums, two albums in 2017, and a record in both 2018 and earlier this year. Having embarked on their first world tour earlier this year, the nine-piece have garnered the attention of k pop fans and media alike. Amassing 1.8 million followers on Twitter and a further 5.4 million followers on Instagram, it’s safe to assume that the group have solidified their presence in both eastern and western markets.

This was the first time any member of the group had been to London, and they were met with quite the reception. Mark discusses their experiences. “It was the first time that we’ve ever performed in front of our London and NCTzen 127 fans,” Mark says. “We were excited for that, but they seemed very excited to see us as well. There was a great energy at [Wembley].”

Having almost completed their world tour, the band reflect on their experiences while globe-trotting. Mark describes his favourite aspect of the tour. “It’s our first world tour, so we definitely been making a lot of new experiences. Even visiting London – it’s our first time – so that’s been fun. I think the best part is to meet our fans for the first time. We never even knew we had fans in the city. I feel like making that bond and that relationship face to face through concerts and stuff is the best part.”

Doyoung continues, reflecting on the fact that, after having had so many memorable experiences, it is hard to pinpoint an exact memory. “I can’t remember one specific moment because there were so many memorable ones,” Doyoung says. “But we actually had a photo exhibition in Seoul, with all the photos we took during the North American leg of our world tour. We had the chance to look back at these photos, and we got to walk through all the memories of the tour, which was a great experience for us in terms of reflecting on everything that happened.”

Jaehyun considers NCT 127’s fanbase, discussing his feelings of pride performing for them at Wembley. “Through the London tour we were connected through K-pop, and our music and [I] felt really grateful and very proud of what we were doing.”

With slapstick effect, Taeyong, miming a steering wheel, quips in concurrence to Jaehyun’s comment, “our fans are like our [steering wheel], the driving force behind us.”

With their world tour coming to a close, NCT 127 have shared a new track, which, punning on an AC/DC classic, is dubbed ‘Highway to Heaven’. Expect less hard rock power chords and more light, poppy grooves.

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